Boxing Day Blues for Burnley!
The Riverside Stadium
Boxing Day, Thursday 26th December 2013 @3pm Kick-
The Clarets slumped to only their third league defeat of the season after going down 1-0 to Middlesbrough at the Riverside on Boxing Day. Despite having the lion`s share of possession of just under 60%, they simply could not make it count and struggled throughout the game to break down the solid Boro central defence. A goal by Emmanuel Ledesma in the 24th minute was enough to seal all three points for the hosts and ensure Burnley would lose their position as Championship leaders. It could have been worse for the Clarets had our rivals done better but only Leicester managed to pick up all three points to leapfrog the Clarets and claim pole position. Their 1-0 home win against Reading means the Clarets are now second two points behind the Foxes who now have 45 points. Derby`s winning streak came to end though after being held 1-1 away to Huddersfield and QPR lost 2-0 at Forest. Had both those two rivals won we would have dropped to fourth place. It was a disappointing end to Christmas though for the 1387 visiting fans who had made the journey north to Teeside and all Burnley fans will now be hoping the Clarets can get back on track with victory away to Wigan on Sunday.
Sean Dyche made three changes to the eighteen that was selected for the previous game at home to Blackpool. In the starting eleven, Daniel Lafferty came in for the injured Ben Mee and on the bench goalkeeper Nick Liversedge replaced Alex Cisak who was feeling unwell. Steven Hewitt took up the remaining place on the bench. The line-up was as follows :
Heaton, Trippier, Shackell, Duff, Lafferty, Kightly, Marney, Jones, Arfield, Ings, Vokes
Subs: Liversedge, Stock, Long, Edgar, Treacy, Stanislas, Hewitt
Full Match Report
Just before kick-off both sets of fans applauded Gary Parkinson onto the pitch. The defender of course played for both clubs during his football career. Gary was making an appearance at his first game since suffering a stroke in 2010 that left him paralysed from the neck down with 'Locked-In Syndrome'. It will be a slow process to full recovery but this was one further step for Gary and all Clarets fans would have been gladdened to see him. High-profile referee, Mark Clattenburg got this Boxing Day clash underway and the visitors were soon on the back-foot. Adomah was soon testing Trippier and getting the better of the right back to put over a deep cross only to see Lukas Jutkiewicz head just wide of target. Ledesma then unleashed a screamer from 30 yards out with Tom Heaton thankful to see the ball fly just past his left hand post. Another 30 yard attempt from Ledesma had Heaton scrambling again but once again the shot was narrowly off target. It was third time lucky though when the in-form Argentine finally gave the hosts a deserved lead in the 24th minute. There was an element of doubt with Burnley claiming Jason Shackell had been fouled after Marvin Emnes charged into him during the buildup. The referee though was having none of it and the loose ball fell to Ledesma, He unleashed a shot that bounced just in front of Heaton on its way into the back of the net. The Clarets had been completely outplayed in the first 30 minutes creating few opportunities. Their first real chance came when Vokes tested Shay Given with a point blank header. Given though would prove equal to it and saved well. It wouldn`t have counted anyway though with the linesman raising his flag for offside! Five minutes before the break, a pretty subdued Danny Ings finally stormed into action after getting his head to the ball from a deep, left wing cross by Marney. Given though, once again showed his class after tipping the ball over from underneath his crossbar to ensure the hosts went into the break one goal to the good.
Despite being completely outclassed in the first-half, Dyche did not make any changes for the start of the second-half and all of a sudden the Clarets looked a lot brighter and started to make a game of it. Given comfortably saved a 20 yard curler from Ings which looked to be sailing into the top corner of the net but Boro came back strongly. Both keepers were now being kept busy and it was Heaton who came to the rescue next after getting a finger tip to a rasping, rising drive from Jutkiewicz. The Clarets though were still struggling to make their possession count and just before the hour mark, Dyche tried to liven things up by bringing on Stanislas in place of Kightly. Seventeen minutes later and there was a change on the opposite Burnley flank with Treacy coming on to replace Arfield. The Clarets were now going for broke and of course that made them look vulnerable on the break although our defence held firm. Treacy, 13 minutes from time though got the better of the right back putting the ball over to the far post with Marney rushing in. But the former Hull midfielder at full stretch could only head over inside the six yard box. Nothing was going right for the Clarets and that was conclusively proven when Stanislas unleashed a 30 yard effort with just a few minutes of the game remaining. Once again, Given was there to bring out a superb save to deny the former West Ham winger. Five minutes added time was not enough and the final whistle brought an end to Burnley`s Christmas party.
Middlesbrough: Given, Ayala (Gibson-85), Varga, Whitehead, Emnes (Leadbitter-59), Woodgate, Ledesma, Friend, Adomah, Smallwood, Jutkiewicz (Main-70)
Subs Not Used: Konstantopoulos, Williams R, Williams L, Butterfield
Goal: Ledesma 24
Booked: Yellow Card for Varga (78)
Burnley: Heaton, Trippier, Shackell, Duff, Lafferty, Kightly (Stanislas-57), Jones, Marney, Arfield (Treacy-74), Ings, Vokes
Subs Not Used: Liversedge, Stock, Long, Edgar, Hewitt
Booked: Yellow Cards for Jones (25) and Arfield (66)
Possession: 42% Middlesbrough, 58% Burnley (Source: BBC Sport)
Ref: Mark Clattenburg (Co. Durham)